Project Details Guide (and Brief Guide) to Polymer Semiconductors

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 August 2015
End Date:
Division Name:


1. To define terms and nomenclature specific to macromolecular optoelectronics, device fabrication, and standard methods of characterization, and to deliver recommendations for improving materials descriptions.

2. To summarize the terms in the form of a brief guide which will facilitate access to terms useful for academics, researchers, and students.

These objectives will deliver two documents: new recommendations and a brief guide.


Organic semiconductors based on conjugated polymers have revolutionized the fields of light-emitting diodes, solar energy conversion, and printable plastic electronics. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are widely used in digital displays and recently have found applications in energy efficient light-emitting panels. The uses of polymer-based semiconductors for these applications such as OLED or photovoltaic devices include the advantages of a highly processable or/and solution processable integration into a wide-variety of printable/flexible designs. The ability of roll-to-roll processing furthers their development and economic advantage for use in printed electronics and low-cost solar energy conversion applications.

To bring awareness of these chemical/technological advances to the widest audience, to inspire the next generation of scientists, and to clarify the terms used between disparate but inter-related sciences around (opto-) electronics, the proposed Guide to Polymer Semiconductors will introduce researchers, students, and a general scientific audience common polymer semiconductor materials, their nomenclature, and terms used for applications and standard methods to characterize newly synthesized materials.

This project will also result in the preparation of a concise 2/3-page Brief Guide to Polymer Semiconductors document that will act as a basic guide to studying the terminology for polymer semiconductors and will be readily accessible within the pages of those journals. Journals and society magazines publishing in polymer science and related sciences will be encouraged to participate in the project. The guidelines will include:

  1. Terms commonly used in academic and/or commercial polymer semiconductor research, their properties and uses
  2. Terminology used when considering semiconductor polymer nomenclature
  3. Terms commonly utilized in characterization techniques (hole/electron mobilities, exciton diffusion lengths, electronic spectra, etc.)
  4. Hyper-links to relevant IUPAC documents
  5. Hyper-links to polymer semiconductor resources

Both guides will be complementary to the Electromagnetic-Field Responsive Polymers project (2006-028-1-400). However this project will focus specifically on contemporary semiconductive polymers materials (development, syntheses, characterization, and applications). For example: the guides will address the specifics about naming newly developed and incorporated heterocycles such as isoindigo moieties used in the backbone of donor-acceptor conjugated polymers. It would not cover terminology related to modifying polymer semiconductors such as doping or concepts related to their conductivity. The guides will focus on highly functional, newly developed semiconductor materials as well as classic polymer semiconductor materials such as poly(3-hexylthiophene) – (P3HT).


Sep 2016 – Project announcement published in Chem. Int. Sep 2016, p. 24;

July 2020 update – The Task Group met in July 2019 in Paris to focus on working through all the terms in this project that have been identified as critical for success of the brief guide and full report. The report contains currently contains over 254 terms which were categorized into 10 subcategories useful for the Guide and Report. A “to do” list was circulated to the members after the Paris meeting to help sort through the categories and determine appropriate titles. Members who joined to work on this project included Natalie Stingelin, Roger Hiorns, Carlos Frederico de Oliveira Graeff (new member), Jiri Vohlidal, and Stefano Valdo Meille (new member). Other members who weren’t able to join in person during the Paris meeting, were able to provide very useful feedback during August/September 2019 about the term categories and the direction of the project. The subcategory sections were assigned to various group members to receive feedback during early Fall 2019 and an outline of the “Brief Guide” to Polymer Semiconductors was prepared by M. Walter in December 2019. The group continued to work on the rough draft of the terms document during a July 2020 virtual session. A rough draft of the Brief Guide will be available to SPT in Spring 2021.


Page last updated 28 July 2020